Are people in the DC area hungry for locally sourced salads? I think not. On Sunday, I worked at Heyser Farm trying to introduce 3 different types of salads to customers who were visiting the Maryland Farm Tour. Heyser Farms in Colesville, MD, was one of the participating farms. It has been in business since the 1940s and very popular with local residents.
To give some background, I have been working at the farm on and off with Mike, the farmer, since last summer. This time around, we chatted a few weeks ago on introducing fresh salads to customers. The idea was that he’d provide the materials, and I would do all the preparation and the menu. I would earn whatever was made for the day’s sales. We thought with the farm tour, we could have the Rolling Brick pizza truck, and the farm salads as a useful side option to eat! We used Facebook and other ways to do outreach on the event and typically Heyser Farms attracts a lot of customers. I have this dream of owning my own restaurant or café one day in a peaceful area. I want people to feel connected to nature and where their food is coming from. I thought that the customers at Heyser Farms are truly passionate about their produce.
From the experience working 6 hours, and only having only 6 customers order salads, I learned the hard way that after all, people just don’t care about eating healthy food. I am sorry to say this, but I just don’t see a future progress in society thinking about where their food is coming from, how to grow it, care for it, and cultivate a culture of healthy eating. I saw two women looking at fresh herbs and bragging how they use them for their recipes, but then they just go ahead and buy their sloppy pizzas and walk away. To make matters worse, there were about 30 individual sales today in the Heyser Farm milkshakes, too.
After spending an hour preparing the salads and then cleaning up, I was defeated. I talked to Mike after the event, and I just told him I feel so discouraged on the demographics, the target market, and if there is even a demand at all for good food. I think the chain restaurants, fake “farm to table,” and overpriced vegan concepts have won in this market in the DC area.
On the positive note, I got to see the progress with the fruits and veggies on the farm. There’s a couple of varieties of cantaloupe, beets, squash, beans, raspberries, and grapes. The peaches and apples are looking great. He also has walla walla sweet onions. There’s so much to look forward to at the farm in the upcoming months with the watermelons,too. He told me that one peach tree costs $25, and they last for about 5-6 years total.